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Golden Retriever Anal Glands: Common Issues & Solutions

Golden Retriever Anal Glands: Common Issues & Solutions
Golden Retriever Anal Glands

There comes a time in every owners life when they will smell full majesty and beauty of their furry friend’s scent. You might already had a “pleasure” of such experience and you know what I am talking about. Yes, that terrible, horrible fish-like odor. This unpleasant smell comes from your Golden Retriever Anal Glands. While most of the time these glands are working as intended, there are some known issues that could cause sudden discharge of their secretion.

What Are Anal Glands?

Anal glands are in fact two sacs located on either side of your Golden Retriever anus. They contain oil and sweat glands and they excrete foul-smelling liquid.

This liquid contains all the information about your dog, his health, sex, age etc. Anal glands are a tool for marking his territory and expelling toxic waste out of the system. Every dog’s scent is unique and different. When you see your Golden Retriever interacting with another dog you will notice they smell each other’s butt.

They are looking for these anal glands to “learn everything” about their new furry friend.

Golden Retriever Anal Glands

So, What Can Go Wrong With Golden Retriever Anal Glands?

Most of the time your Golden Retriever anal glands work without any problem. In fact, every time your dog is pooping, anal glands are excreting their content together with poop.

But, due to underlying health issues, unbalanced diet, injury or genetically inherited conditions they may not function properly.

They can also suddenly empty in case of extreme excitement or stressful situation, like fight or injury.

How To Recognize My Golden Retriever Has Issues With Anal Glands?

When anal glands are not functioning properly, that is when they don’t empty as they should, your dog will feel immense discomfort and pain.

You will notice your Golden acting strangely in attempt to empty those anal glands and relive the pain.

Here are some tell-tale signs:

Chasing his tail

Biting or licking his butt

Sitting or pooping with apparent discomfort

Scooting (Dragging his butt along the ground in attempt to squeeze anal gland liquid and ease the pain)

How To Recognize Diseased Anal Glands?

If, on close inspection, you notice red skin or traces of pus around your dog’s anus this could be sign of bad anal glands. In this case you should take your dog to the vet.

What Causes These Anal Glands Problems?

As we mentioned earlier, diet plays a big part in proper functioning of anal glands. Kibble diets in particular are known to cause so called “Soft stools” that are mushy and don’exert enough pressure on anal glands.

Without enough pressure on them, anal glands retain and build up liquid which in turn causes pain to your dog, and can cause inflammation and infection.

Lack of activity can also cause less efficient functioning of anal glands due to the more lax muscles.

Food and environmental allergies are also pretty common culprits for bad anal glands, as they will be irritated by allergen from either food or environment.

What To Do In Case Of Bad Anal Glands?

Try to change your dog’s diet. In order for poop to become firm and apply enough pressure on anal glands you need to feed him high fiber diet.

Raw diet that includes bone content is also an excellent solution since poop gets much firmer due to dissolved bones during digestive process.

Regular activity and exercise will strengthen your Golden Retriever’s abdominal and rectal muscles. This in turn will allow him to put more pressure on anal glands.

Give your Golden Retriever probiotics and prebiotics to help him firm up his stool.

What Not To Do In Case Of Bad Anal Glands?

No matter what, don’t try to empty your dog’s anal glands manually by squeezing them. Your vet or groomer might advise you to do this, but don’t do this!

Your Golden Retriever should not need this kind of help from you in the first place, and all that squeezing and pinching will cause inflammation and swelling. This will only make things worse and on top of that glands will become dependent on outside pressure thus further decreasing their efficiency.

In some cases vet will even propose complete removal of anal glands. There are few things you need to know before you decide on such a drastic step.

First of all anal glands are there for a reason, trough them dog is clearing his system from all the toxins. With the anal glands removed those toxins will only go deeper in the body and cause all sort of other problems.

Trauma to the sphincter during the operation can result in poor muscle tone and lead to the occurrence of fecal incontinence.


Most of the time you wont’ even be aware that anal glands even exist, but when they do not function properly you will most certainly know. Best way to prevent this problem is proper care for your Golden retriever. This means feed your dog proper diet, provide enough activity and physical exercise and visit vet every six months for anal glands examination.